I had an '87 Subaru and the timing belt (chain?) broke. To my surprise, no valve damage. I learned that was a designed feature in Subarus at the time. I’m now driving an 01 Forester w/ 90k miles. If this timing belt goes, will it damage the valves or is it like the old models?
Your Forester has a timing belt and is an interference style engine so look out if it breaks.
You can however, greatly reduce this from happening by following the manufacturers replacement recommendation.
If the belt hasn’t been replaced by now, I would suggest you do it.
The timing belt change interval is 8yrs/105k miles. All but one or two years of Forester(earlier) are interference design and will cause valve damage.
It is not significantly expensive to get a timing belt replacement on this engine.
To clarify, your '01 Forester DOES have an interference engine, and WILL be damaged when the timing belt breaks. With THIS '01 Subaru you definitely can’t count on Lady Luck. She’s gone to Rio, for the winter.
If the belt on your Forester breaks there will be internal engine damage. If you haven’t had the belt replaced yet I suggest you make an appointment and have it replaced soon.
Subaru’s current 2.5L, DOHC engine is an interference design. Timing belt replacement is critical on these cars.